“If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.” Lao Tzu
The past many months have been a time of great learning for me. At the time of course, I didn’t know I was learning a lick of anything because I felt like something you peel off the bottom of your shoe most of the time!
For months on end, I have been in severe pain and tremendous exhaustion to the point that even taking a shower was a big deal. Even lifting my arms to wash my hair was tiring, and it was truly terrifying because i thought I was slipping away. During this time I was extremely, extremely depressed. I felt like I was in the dark and could not move to find the door to get out.
I lived in the past, and thought about all the things I could have done better and how I was not at special as I thought I was. Meanwhile I saw evidence to the contrary, ways I had contributed to life, bettered myself and others, and had continued to grow.
At the time, I isolated myself, wanted no contact with anyone, because of the guilt and shame I felt over so many things. When you are depressed there is not much others can do except love you and make sure you are not a danger to yourself.
Loved ones can offer support, food, talks, books, walks, fresh air etc, but until you are ready to “come to the surface” or the chemicals in your brain straighten out by many means not discussed in this article, you kinda need to allow it to run its course. Getting professional help is key, always. Seeing a doctor, medical or holistic is also very important. You cannot manage your health on your own, if you are as sick as I am describing.
The other pastime I seemed to engage in during this long bout of Fibromyalgia and autoimmune hell was WORRY. I was anxious and nervous about all kinds of things, and thinking about what could go wrong.
As Lao Tzu’s quote says above, anxiety is living in the future, which is a pointless exercise. I don’t even need to explain that we have no control over the future, just as much as we can’t go back and change what happened in the past. The majority of stress and pain exaserbation is caused by one of these two places our mind goes.
This moment is all that matters. Believe me I am the first person that has had to learn this lesson the hard way. I think I am getting closer, by letting little things not bother me nearly as much as they used to.
Breathing is one of the best ways to bring yourself back to the here and now. If you find yourself getting crazy about something you have no control over, take a step back, and count to 10, take some deep breaths. Follow your breathing pattern. Another is to bring awareness to one part of your body, like your heartbeat, or starting a the tips of your fingers, to your knuckles, to your wrist, to your mid arm etc…relaxing and gently being aware. You don’t have to sit and meditate. Just stop and close your eyes for even 3 minutes.
This is called mindfullness.. Buddhists try to live every moment mindfully, being aware of the present moment, and taking in each detail of it. Imagine what it would be like, if you sat over a cup of tea and did nothing but drank it mindfully. Your thoughts would be in the moment on your tea, and nothing else, not your house, not your kids, your pain, your spouse, just sipping your tea and everything about it. Something to think about and try.
Our physical pain is very much connected to how we feel mentally. I truly believe that. I know this from experience because as I have pulled out of the deep depression I was in, the pain levels I experienced are nowhere near as severe as they were. Some of the other issues my body was going through are much better as well. When it rains it pours!!
Live one moment to the next. Be IN the moment…not thinking anxiously about what will happen tomorrow. Leave the past behind, because it has absolutely no bearing on today. You can create anything you want today. Believe it.
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